Billing Ordinance

ORDINANCE 213

UNIFORM UTILITY BILLING AND COLLECTION SYSTEM

Sections:

1 Authorized officers designated.

2 Creation of accounts – Deposits on renter-occupied premises.

3 Billing generally.

4 Bills – Preparation, delivery

5 Budget payment plan.

6 Bills delinquent.

7 Payment delinquent – Service discontinued.

8 Notice of delinquent account.

9 Payment delinquency – Enforcement actions.

10 Deferred payments arrangements – Penalty, assessed.

11 Delinquent account – Refusal of other town services.

12 Service charge for returned checks

13 Service discontinuance of utility services – For other than payment failure.

14 Disconnection/reconnection of utility services.

15 Liability for charges.

16 Right of lien.

17 Out-of-town service – Billing.

18 Out-of-town service – Charge payment failure – Service discontinuance.

19 Out-of-town service – Right of lien.

20 Utility lien foreclosure – Authorized when.

21 Utility lien foreclosure – Trial.

22 Utility lien – Enforcement – Alternative method.

23 Statutes adopted by reference.

24 Amendments to statutes adopted.

Section 1 Authorized officers designated.

(a) The town clerk shall keep an account for water, sewer and solid waste service used by any person, business, or other entity within the town. Such services shall be paid for by every utility account within the town.

(b) The town clerk shall place against these accounts all charges for water, sewer and solid waste that are to be paid by every utility account, when these services are use by such person, business or other entity. Any service charges or other charges that are connected with the provision of utility services shall likewise be placed against these accounts. All charges shall be made in accordance with the terms of those ordinances of the town establishing the rates and fees for such services.

Section 2 Creation of accounts – Deposits on renter-occupied premises.

At the time an account for either residential or commercial renter-occupied premises is requested and before it is authorized, the town clerk shall require that the person requesting services deposit with the town a sum of money equal to two and one-half times the total monthly utility bill for the premises; such sum shall not be less than $75.00. This deposit can be reduced to the minimum of $75.00 if the property owner agrees in writing to assume financial responsibility for any unpaid balance in excess of the deposit amount and the property owner files such written agreement with the town clerk prior to the account being established in the tenant’s name. This provision does not in any way affect the property owner’s liability for charges or the lien rights of the town against the premises to which the services are furnished. Nothing in this ordinance shall prevent the town from requiring additional or new deposits, when the conditions so warrant.

Section 3 Billing generally.

There shall be one uniform billing and collection procedure for all town utility services, including but not limited to water, sewer and solid waste.

Section 4 Bills – Preparation, delivery.

(a) The town shall cause a single utility bill, covering all utility services that are furnished by or through the town during the preceding month or accounting period, to be prepared and rendered on a monthly basis to each customer of utility service.

(b) Such bills shall be due and payable by the last day of the month from and after the date of mailing.

(c) Once prepared, this bill shall be delivered to the customer by depositing it in the United States mail, addressed to the address that has been submitted by the customer to the town.

(d) Deposit in the United States mail pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be deemed full and complete notice to the customer of the nature and amount of any particular utility billing.

Section 5 Budget payment plan.

The town clerk is hereby authorized to create and implement a budget payment plan in accordance with the state law. Such a plan shall permit the authorized customer to make payments of utility charges on an annual averaged basis rather than on a monthly basis, with at least one annual adjustment to ensure that the amount paid on an annual basis reflects the actual charges incurred.

Section 6 Bills delinquent.

If the bill rendered as provided in section 4 is not paid when due, it shall be considered delinquent five days after the due date and a penalty fee of $3.00 shall be added to the delinquent account. An additional fee of $3.00 shall likewise be assessed for each additional month such utility bill, or any part thereof (including and prior late charges) remains unpaid.

Section 7 Payment delinquent – Service discontinued.

In the absence of any special arrangement or agreement with the town concerning payment, if a utility bill or any part thereof remains delinquent and unpaid a special notice to the effect that if the delinquent utility charges, together with the prior delinquent charges, are not paid in full within seven days from the date of mailing of the special notice, the town shall, within 48 hours thereafter, proceed to shut off and discontinue utility services to the premises until all utility charges are paid in full.

Section 8 Notice of delinquent account.

The notice of delinquent account shall further state that if the consumer has questions or disputes concerning the amount of payment due, he or she may appeal to the town clerk whose address and telephone number shall be stated on the notice of delinquent account.

Section 9 Payment delinquency – Enforcement actions.

(a) The town clerk is hereby authorized and directed to promulgate administrative policies and procedures for the implementation of this ordinance.

(b) If the customer is unable to pay the full amount of utility charges because of temporary financial difficulties or other hardship, the town clerk may permit the customer to make deferred payment arrangements; provided, however, that the town will be under no obligation to enter into any deferred payment agreement with any customer who has not fully and satisfactorily complied with terms of any previous agreement.

(c) Failure to abide by the terms of the arrangements shall be cause for shut-off and discontinuance of utility services until the total utility charges that are due are paid in full.

Section 10 Deferred payments arrangement – penalty, assessed.

If arrangements for deferred payments have been made, the town clerk shall assess against such accounts the same penalty fees as set forth in section 6.

Section 11 Delinquent account – Refusal of other town services.

If a bill becomes delinquent, no officer, agent, or employee of the town may authorize or permit any further town service or process any application for a permit from the town, when such application has been requested by the person in whose name an account stands delinquent; this requirement shall remain in effect until the delinquent account is paid in full. This section, however, shall not apply to the provision of water, sewer and sold waste service, but shall apply to connections, inspections, engineering and other like services by the water, sewer and solid waste utilities.

Section 12 Service charge for returned checks.

A service charge of $15.00 shall be imposed upon any customer who, in full or partial payment of a town utility bill, tenders a check, which is thereafter returned to the town as a result of insufficient funds in the customer’s checking account.

Section 13 Service discontinuance – For other than payment failure.

In addition to nonpayment of a utility bill, the town may shut off and discontinue any or all utility services to a customer for failure to pay connection charges for any utility service furnished to such customer, or for the fraudulent, illegal or unauthorized use or abuse of any utility service, or the failure or refusal of the customer to comply with all rules, regulations or ordinances pertaining to the receipt and use of utility services furnished by the town.

Section 14. Disconnection/reconnection of utility services.

Should a customer fail to pay a delinquent bill pursuant to this ordinance the town clerk shall immediately cause the particular utility services to be cut off from the premises. Such services shall be reconnected to the premises only upon full payment of all delinquent utility charges, and correction of any fraudulent, illegal or unauthorized use or abuse of any utility service, applicable to the particular premises, irrespective of who may have incurred the charges or who may have been responsible for the fraudulent, illegal, or unauthorized use or abuse of utility services. In addition, one single reconnection fee of $25.00 shall be charged and paid prior to the reconnection of any utility service that was actually shut off and discontinued and that will require such reconnection to be made during regular working hours.

A surcharge of $50.00 shall be assessed for reconnections made at a customer’s request outside of regular working hours.

Section 15 Liability for charges.

All owners of property shall remain ultimately and legally liable for the payment of any and all utility charges to the premises, regardless of whether such property is used for single-family, multiple dwelling or commercial purposes and regardless of the fact that the billings are made in the name of a tenant or other occupant of the premises. Such billings are for personal convenience only and shall not in any way affect the lien rights of the town against the premises to which the services are furnished.

Section 16 Right of lien.

(a) In addition to the right herein provided to shut off and discontinue utility service, the town shall have a lien for delinquent and unpaid utility charges, including late charges, against the premises to which such utility service has been furnished or is available. The lien shall be effective for a total of not to exceed six month’s delinquent charges without the necessity of any writing or recording. In order to make such lien effective for more than six months, the town clerk shall cause to be filed for record in the office of the county clerk of Platte County a notice in substantially the following form:

Utility Lien Notice

Town of Glendo, )

)

v. )

)

Reputed Owner )

—————————

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Town of Glendo has and claims a lien for ________ charges against the following described premises situated in Platte County, Wyoming, to wit:

(Here insert legal description of premises.)

Said lien is claimed for not exceeding six months charges and interest now delinquent, amounting to $_______, and is also claimed for future utility charges against said premises.

DATED this ___ day of ______, 20______.

TOWN OF GLENDO

By _________________

(b) The lien notice may be signed by the town clerk. The lien notice shall be recorded as prescribed by law for the recording of mechanics’ liens.

Section 17 Out-of-town service – Billing.

With respect to out-of-town utility service furnished by the town, particularly out-of-town water service, the town clerk shall cause monthly bills for such out-of-town utility service to be prepared and mailed to each customer, which bills shall become due and payable the last day of the month from and after the date of mailing. The owner of the premises shall remain at all times responsible for such utility services, irrespective of the actual occupant or user of such services who shall likewise be and remain liable to the town for such utility services. No tenant deposits shall be available on out–of-town utility services.

Section 18 Out-of-town service – Charge payment failure – Service discontinuance.

Failure to pay out-of-town utility charges within seven days after mailing of a notice of delinquency substantially in the form provided in section 7, or the failure to comply with any an all other ordinances and/or contract provisions governing out-of-town services, including payment of connection charges and latecomer agreement charges, shall be grounds to immediately disconnect and discontinue all utility services furnished by the town to such premises. Reconnections will be permitted only upon payment of all delinquent charges and compliance with all ordinances and contract provisions, plus payment of all costs expended in the disconnecting and reconnection of such premises to such utility service or services.

Section 19 Out of-town services – Right of lien.

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18 the town reserves the right to any and all liens authorized by law in connection with the collection of unpaid utility charges and to pursue such liens and other available collection or enforcement remedies separately, concurrently or conjunctively.

Section 20 – Utility lien foreclosure – Authorized when.

The town may foreclose its utility lien in an action in the county court. All or any of the tracts subject to the lien may be proceeded against in the same action, and all parties appearing of record as owning or claiming to own, having or claiming to have any interest in or lien upon the tracts involved in the action shall be impleaded in the action as parties defendant. An action to foreclose a utility lien pursuant to a lien notice filed as required by this ordinance must be commenced within two years from the date of filing thereof. An action to foreclose a six months’ lien may be commenced at any time after six months subsequent to the furnishing of the utility service for which payment has not been made. The service of summons and all other proceedings except as provided specifically under this ordinance, including appeal, order of sale, sale redemption and issuance of deed shall be governed by the statues of the state of Wyoming now or hereafter in force relating to the foreclosure of mortgages on real property. The terms “judgment debtor: or “successor in interest” in the statutes of the state of Wyoming governing redemption when applied under this ordinance shall include an owner or a vendee. All sales shall be subject to the right of redemption within one year from date of sale. At any time after deed is issued to it pursuant to a foreclosure of a lien, the town may lease or sell or convey the property conveyed thereunder at public for such price and on such terms as may be determined by the resolution of the town council.

Section 21 Utility lien foreclosure – Trial.

A utility lien foreclosure action shall be tried before the court without a jury. The court may allow, in addition to the delinquent charges, interest on the service charges at a rate not exceeding 12 percent per year from date of delinquency, costs and disbursements as provided by the statutes of the state of Wyoming and such attorneys’ fees as the court may adjudge reasonable. If the owners and parties interested in any particular tract default, the court may enter judgment of foreclosure and sale as to such parties and tracts and the action may proceed as to the remaining defendants and tracts. The judgment shall specify separately the amount of the utility charges, with interest, penalty and costs chargeable to each tract. The judgment shall have the effect of a separate judgment as to each tract described in the judgment and any appeal should not invalidate or delay the judgment except as to the property concerning which the appeal is taken. The judgment of the court shall order the tracts therein described sold at one general sale, and an order of sale shall issue pursuant thereto for the enforcement of the judgment. Judgment may be entered as to any one or more separate tracts involved in the action and the court shall retain jurisdiction of other properties.

Section 22 Utility lien – Enforcement – Alternative method.

As an additional and concurrent method of enforcing the lien authorized under this ordinance, the town of Glendo may shut off and discontinue any or all utility services to the premises to which such utility service was furnished after the charges became delinquent and unpaid, and until the charges are paid. The right to enforce the lien by cutting off and refusing utility services shall be exercised after two years from the date of the recording of the utility lien notice provided under this ordinance except to enforce the payment of six months’ charges for which no lien notice is required to be recorded.

Section 23 Statutes adopted by reference.

Any and all statutes of the state of Wyoming now or hereafter in force relating to the foreclosure of mortgages on real property are hereby adopted.

Section 24 Amendments to statutes adopted.

The amendment, addition or repeal by the Wyoming State Legislature of any section of any of the adopted statutes shall be deemed to amend the ordinance and the statues contained herein which are adopted by reference in conformity with the amendment, addition or repeal, and it shall not be necessary for the council of this town to take any action with respect to such addition, amendment or repeal as provided by law.

PASSED AND ADOPTED ON EMERGENCY READING THIS 3rd DAY OF MAY, 2006.